Friday 14 September 2018

Buddha statue pulled from Sotheby’s auction

Simone McCarthy,'Buddha statue pulled from Sotheby’s auction on suspicion it may be from China Unesco site', South China Morning Post, 14 September, 2018

Not very nicely mounted
70cm tall head
An intricately carved limestone Buddha head was removed from a Sotheby’s auction in New York this week, after evidence emerged that it may have originated from [...]  the ancient Buddhist Longmen Caves, a kilometre-long system of grottoes carved in limestone cliffs in central China’s Henan province The item was pulled from sale ahead of the auction on September 12, but not before it was included in the list of Chinese artefacts published in the catalogue. “Our attention was drawn to an image of a sculpture, very similar to the present work, published by a Japanese photographer who documented the Longmen Caves in the 1920s and 1930s,” Sotheby’s said on Friday. Items in the auction, all from a private collection, were valued between US$10,000 and US$2.5 million, according to the Sotheby’s website.
See also: Cao Zinan, 'Chinese Buddha statue in Sotheby's resembles lost relic' China Daily 14.09.2018
Sotheby's said that after a discussion with the sculpture's owner, the Junkunc family, the Buddha head would not be included in the sale on Sept 12 [...] According to the Sotheby's catalogue, the item once appeared in the auction catalogue of a French antique dealer that sells stolen Chinese relics in 1955, which was later collected by the US collector Stephen Junkunc [...] a large number of Buddha heads were stolen during the late Qing dynasty (1644-1911) and the Republic of China (1912-1949) period. According to estimates, 600 to 700 Buddha statues in the Longmen Grottoes have been damaged and stolen during the period.
The cost of the art market to heritage values, Longman Caves before and after
I do wonder, just where do dealers and collectors 'think' (I use the term loosely) that lopped-off statue heads like this come from?


Chinese Buddhist Art said...

The collection of ancient Chinese Buddha statues is a trend in the world. These statues consist of rich culture and history of Chinese Buddhism. They can be valuable collector's items. However, I do not agree that selling or buying these lopped-off statue heads are appropriate.

Paul Barford said...

Commercial post allowed, because sells replicas. The sales spiel is interesting/informative. OK, but no more please.

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